The International Partnership for Interdisciplinary Research Training: Chronic, Non-Communicable Diseases and Disorders Across the Lifespan

 


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Purpose 

The University of Chicago has supported active clinical and basic research programs into the epidemiology and socio-cultural factors that contribute to disparities in the incidence and expression of breast cancer, in partnership with the University of Ibadan and the University College Hospital, both in Nigeria, for more than a decade. The National Institutes of Health D43 training grant supports the “International Partnership for Interdisciplinary Research Training in Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases and Disorders Across the Lifespan” program which serves to deepen research methods skills amongst trainees in clinical research and introduce an important research methods dimension consistent with the needs expressed by in country collaborators. The dimension of interest is an interdisciplinary approach, whereby trainees receive distinct added research training in another health related discipline such as bioethics, biostatistics, behavioral science, cancer biology, clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenetics, economics, demography, epidemiology, health policy, human genetics, immunology, molecular pathology, and the social sciences. This focus will increase capacity amongst trainees at various career levels to develop relevant hypotheses, plan appropriate study designs, operationalize research findings, nurture collaborations between investigators of different disciplines and in some trainees, potentiate considerable shifts in thinking and approaches to preventing and curing the diseases that most affect Nigeria and the continent.

This grant will continue to build upon the existing partnership between the University of Ibadan and University College Hospital and the University of Chicago. 

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Goal 

This international partnership will assist the University of Ibadan in realizing its present vision of transforming into a postgraduate, research-driven university with focus on the development of translational research capacity and skills-set to meet the growing health needs of the country and the entire continent of Africa.

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Program Objectives

The specific objectives of the training program are to:

  • Formalize short-term, medium-term and long-term training in clinical oncology research for nascent Nigerian physicians, non-physician scientists and allied health workers, thereby providing the skills necessary to bridge clinical medicine grounded in translational science and strengthened by contextualization through research in bioethics, cancer biology, clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenetics, epigenetics, environmental science, health services research, genetics, immunology, and molecular pathology.

  • Create an intensely mentored career development program for cross-disciplinary physicians and non-physician scientists that integrate clinical research training and completion of a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation with special emphasis on bench research at the University of Chicago.

  • Provide support for seamless progression of trainees participating in the program to independent clinical investigator status capable of writing hypothesis-driven research focused on treatment and prevention of cancer and other chronic non-communicable conditions across the lifespan.

  • Extend and enhance training opportunities in clinical hematology/oncology through collaborations within the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), West African College of Surgeons and West Africa College of Medicine.

  • Build upon a local model of “advanced research ethics consultation,” complementing resources with an NIH-supported bioethics training grant in existence at Ibadan to address advanced ethical issues created by the innovative research protocols that will be necessary for the elimination of common chronic non-communicable diseases across the lifespan in Nigeria.

  • Partner with community leaders and residents to decrease health, social and behavioral information gaps, to foster information flow to and from the training program for both community residents and health care providers serving residents of Ibadan.

  • Disseminate novel research methodologies and opportunities to benefit other NIH-funded investigators and trainees at other institutions in Nigeria and Africa. 

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Training

The proposed training program is designed to deepen research methods and skills of trainees in clinical research, as well as introduce important dimensions of research consistent with the needs expressed by in-country scientists. This program will build on existing cancer research programs and will: 1) advance to other chronic, non-communicable disorders across the lifespan, 2) expand to additional training methodologies, 3) expand to other emerging South-South collaborations such as a new Nigeria-Tanzania partnership fostered by the University of Chicago, and 4) expand to other African countries through the African Organization on Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC). 

Training Pyramid

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Short-term Training (<1 week)

The following short-term training opportunities are available to multi-disciplinary teams of physicians, scientists, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, epidemiologists, technologists, and other health care providers involved in cancer research:

  • Cancer across the lifespan: Health Services Research, Genetics, Treatment, and Ethics 5-day course (with elective longitudinal mentoring)
  • Joint Ibadan School of Public Health and Department of Health Studies Advanced Workshop in Epidemiology, Genetics, and Secondary Data Analysis
  • Principles and Practices of Clinical Research
  • Annual Pathology Course
  • Annual Cancer Imaging Training Workshop
  • Global Scholars Research Symposium

Medium-term Training (1 month-3 months)

Medium-term training options are highly selective and open to individuals with demonstrable research career interests at the junior faculty level, with the exception of top medical students and residents who will be provided opportunities to participate in a summer exchange program at the University of Chicago. The following are opportunities available for trainees at the junior faculty level:

  • Fundamentals of Clinical Research Course offered by the NIH
  • Summer Research Program
  • University of Chicago Summer Intensive Courses
    • Summer Program for Outcomes Research Training (SPORT)
    • Biological Intensive Summer Training
    • Clinical Ethics Intensive Summer Training (ESIT)

Long-term Training (1-2 years)

The Global Health Scholars Program will allow tremendous flexibility. Depending on level of experience, trainees will have varying opportunities to engage in long-term training, either in-country within the programs offered by the Center for Reproductive and Population Health (CRPH) University of Ibadan or at the University of Chicago. 

How to Apply

Short-term training opportunities will be announced on our website and locally in Nigeria. For medium- and long-term training opportunities, a Request for Applications will be published in July each year. Please visit our website regularly for updates.

Contact Us!

For more information, please contact Nkem Chineme at ndike@bsd.uchicago.edu

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